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How to Key Alike Door Locks

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

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Keep your home safe by following these simple steps on how to key alike door locks. You’ll be glad you did!


When it comes to key alike door locks, having the same key for multiple locks can be incredibly convenient. Whether you’re installing new door hardware or replacing existing hardware, keying alike can save both time and money. Keying alike allows you to have the same key open multiple locks without the need of replacing all existing locks or keys. This guide includes an overview of keying alike door locks, what you need to know before getting started, and an overview of the process. With this information, you’ll be able to confidently move forward with keying alike door locks for your home or business.

Types of Door Locks

Door locks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with different levels of security and functionality. From basic knob locks to sophisticated keypad locks, there are options that fit nearly any need. It’s important to understand the different types of door locks before making a decision about which type to install. In this section, we’ll discuss the various types of door locks and which ones may be best for your particular situation.


Deadbolt locks provide extra security for homes and businesses. Typically, deadbolt locks require a physical key in order to operate. To key alike deadbolt locks means that one key can be used to open multiple locks of the same brand and type. This type of locking system is often used in offices, homes and warehouses when multiple people need access to various areas but do not need to physically carry around a different key for each door.

Deadbolt locks come in several varieties, including single cylinder, double cylinder, and automatic locking deadbolts. Single cylinder deadbolts have one side that requires a key to open – typically the inside side – while the outside side can be opened by a twist knob or lever handle. Double cylinder deadbolts require a physical key on both sides of the lock in order to open it. Automatic locking deadbolts will automatically lock after you shut the door behind you, with most using an electronic fob or similar device to open them from the outside.

Mother-daughter keying is another method that can be used for keying alike door locks with a time delay mechanism built into your automated access system so that certain doors remain unlocked for elapsed periods of time before automatically locking again once the designated period has passed without someone entering or exiting through those doors. This can be vital for certain businesses when requiring staff ensure safety measures are taken immediately after said staff members enter or exit certain entry points throughout their work space; such as warehouses storing hazardous materials or chemical compounds with exposure as a potential risk if venturing too close unprotected during extended periods of time inside these particular spaces.

Lever Handle

Lever door locks are found in various types of application. From single office doors to apartment entries, combination lever handle door locks provide extra security as well as convenience. The installation of a lever handle type door lock is relatively simple, but can require extra time due to the sheer number of screws needed during installation. When installing a lever handle type of door lock, there are several things you need to keep in mind.

The first consideration is where you want the lock to be placed on the door frame and door itself. Generally, it is best to mount the lock within easy reach but away from direct sunlight and areas where frequent manipulation would occur such as near an exit lever. The next step is to check whether additional reinforcements or bracing materials are needed before attaching the levers.

Once everything is secure, you will need to attach the levers using screws and sleeve washers or included latches or handles if required by your specific model. Follow installation instructions or take note of any pictures provided by the manufacturer for reference purposes during assembly since different models may require different methods for keying alike multiple locks for a single doorway. Once all pieces are secure, test out your new lockset on both sides before completely finalizing your installation process!


Knobcylinder door locks are widely used in residential and commercial door applications. Commonly found on entry doors, they may come with a single or double cylinder, depending on the type of keyed entry you need. Single cylinders use a key from the outside of the lock while double cylinders require a key both inside and out.

To have multiple locks all keyed alike – meaning one key will work on all your locks – it’s best to start by getting one master key set. This is typically accomplished by providing the manufacturer of your chosen locking hardware with a special master keying code that will allow for each lock to accept any number of keys within its manufactured limits as determined by its design and configuration. Master keying is commonly used for convenience when using multiple knob cylinder locks within the same property, such as with rental units, offices or other businesses that may require access from multiple people.

Each knobcylinder also has different features that you can choose from; most have single or double sided keys, as well as deadlocking anti-rotation pins and different depths of cut lines depending on the security needs of your property. With regards to design options there are many different trim styles available in order to fit any aesthetic need for the home or building project. Choosing these options will depend greatly upon what type of access control you want for your property; determining who should have access and how much security versus convenience is wanted should be established prior to purchasing your new knobcylinder door lock hardware set.

Re-keying the Lock

Re-keying a lock is a great way to secure a door if you’ve recently had a tenant move out or are replacing an old lock. Re-keying a door lock is relatively simple and doesn’t require you to replace the lock, saving you time and money. In this article, we will discuss the steps you need to take to re-key a door lock.

Gather the Necessary Tools

Before you can re-key the lock, you need to gather the necessary tools and supplies. The most important item will be a new key and a matching set of pins that correspond to the size of the lock. You will also need an awl or small screwdriver, a tension wrench, some tweezers or hemostats, and a few paperclips in order to complete the process. For safety purposes, it is important to wear safety goggles while working.

If your old lock is still installed in the door, use an awl or small screwdriver to remove it from the doorframe. Carefully loosen each of the screws until it slides out of place easily by hand. If you are replacing a broken lock with a new one, skip this step.

Once you have removed the old lock from its place on the door frame or have chosen your new lock for replacement, use your tweezers and paper clips to open up its back plate in order to reveal its inner workings. There should be several pins that you’ll need to remove before you can insert your new key and set of matching pins that correspond with its size and design.

Finally, once all necessary pieces are in place within the open lock cavity insert your tension wrench into one side of the cylinder while inserting your newly cut key into another side with slight pressure needed on both sides simultaneously in order for them rotate freely together at once with resistance note that all pins must be properly positioned before this occurs in order for your re-keying effort succeed successfully.

Remove the Lock from the Door

Before you can re-key any lock, it must first be removed from the door. On most doors, there is a small screw on the outside handle that holds the handle to the lock. Unscrew this and remove the handle and associated hardware away from the door. Then look on the inside of the door for a larger mounting screw that connects the actual lock to the door itself. Remove this screw with your Phillips screwdriver or cutting machine and gently pull out on the lock – it should slide out with minimal pressure. Once it’s out, place it somewhere where it won’t get lost or tampered with as you work.

Remove the Cylinder and Insert the Key

Removing the cylinder and inserting the key is the first step in re-keying your lock. Before attempting to remove the lock cylinder from the door, check to see if it is held in place by screws or any other type of fastener. You will need a screwdriver to remove these fasteners, as well as a small wrench set to help you with the removal process.

Once you have removed all of the fasteners and freed up the door knobs and handles, locate the keyhole on both sides of the door. This keyhole may have some small notches visible on both sides of it, which indicates that a tool such as an allen key wrench or Torx head would be required for removal.

After you have located both sets of notches on either side of each cylinder, insert your blank keys into each cylinder and push down as far as they will go until they are firmly seated within each lock body. Once your keys are secured within each lock body, you can then turn them clockwise to open up any default pins that were blocking access before. At this point, your locks should now be able to rotate freely allowing you to test out their new keying ability. Remember to make sure that your cylinder is free from debris before checking for a successful re-key!

Remove the Retaining Clip

In order to re-key the lock, you will first need to remove the retaining clip. This is usually located at the bottom of the lock, though it can sometimes be found on top of the lock as well. With your thumb and forefinger, carefully pull outwards on the clip – both in a vertical direction and then in a horizontal direction – until it pops off. Make sure to leave every piece intact; if any pieces get broken or damaged they cannot be re-used and will need to be replaced before any further steps can be taken.

Remove the Cylinder Plug

Before you can start to key alike a lock, you need to gain access to the lock itself. To do this, begin by removing the cylinder plug from inside the face of the lock. This step requires that you first remove any screws that hold the face of the lock in place. You may then be able to merely pull out the cylinder plug, or turn it counter-clockwise with your palm or a pair of pliers until it is freed from its housing and can be removed.

Once removed, paying close attention to how it works will help ensure that you correctly reinsert it when you are finished keying alike your locks. If possible, it can also be helpful to take photographs of any component pieces of the cylinder prior to removal so that correct reinsertion is even easier. Once accomplished, you can then move on to matching and keying your locks for duplicate key use

Place the New Pins in the Plug

In order to re-key a lock, you will need to remove the existing pins and replace them with new ones of the correct size. The pin placement is keyed to a particular code, so you must make sure that the new pins match exactly. To place the new pins into the plug of the lock, hold one pin on top of each other in their respective positions. Make sure that the set of pins remain flush with one another as you insert them into the plug. Once you have inserted all new pins, apply pressure from your finger on top to keep them in place while you turn them clockwise until they are fully seated.

Reassemble the Lock

Once the cylinder has been placed inside the lock body, it’s time to reassemble the lock. Install the retaining collar, clip and springs in the reverse order that these components were removed. It is important to be sure to line up all parts evenly and make sure no foreign particles are left in the chamber. Then, use a Phillips screwdriver to secure all screws back into place. Next, install a new key on each side of the chamber or re insert them if they were previously removed. Lastly, test out your work by attempting to lock and unlock with both sides using their respective keys. If your door locks can’t be locked or unlocked properly after re-keying, remove each component and inspect for any obstructions or irregular fits before attempting again.


When creating a key alike system, it’s important to remember that the procedure is relatively basic and can be done with most standard locks. Like any locksmithing technique, you will need to have patience and take your time. Re-keying the same locks reduces the number of master keys needed by security personnel, so when appropriate it may be more advantageous to key alike instead.

It’s also important to keep in mind that mistakes can happen during the process, so consider checking each lock after you have completed each step. It’s much easier to re-key a lock before it’s spent weeks or months on a door! Learning how to key alike door locks not only helps you save money but also provides additional security for your home or business.

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